Baltimore Mayor Pugh gets innovation award for work with small businesses

A Boston-based research group presented Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh with an award Tuesday that honors her work promoting small businesses in the city.

Steve Grossman, the chief executive of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, said the organization chose to recognize Pugh because she is an “entrepreneurial mayor.”

“We see her as an innovator when it comes particularly to promoting small businesses and creating a foundation of inner-city economic revitalization,” Grossman said.

He cited work Goldman Sachs has done in Baltimore as part of its 10,000 Small Businesses investment program, calling the mayor a “relentless champion” for the initiative. The program provides entrepreneurs with business education and support and works to expand their access to capital.

Pugh traveled Tuesday to Boston to receive the award. The mayor said she has been looking at ways the city can award contracts and use its mentorship programs to boost smaller companies.

The important question, the mayor said, is “How do you create these sustainable solutions that aren’t just momentary, but are lasting?”

The award and a conference held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to study Baltimore’s successes, are bright spots among a spike in violence that has the city’s authorities scrambling to come up with a response.

Pugh said she spent less than a full day out of town for the Boston ceremony because she thought it was important to be back in the city to attend a community walk.

But she said she used even the brief trip as an opportunity to network, talking with about a dozen people who have expressed an interest in investing in the city.

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